A Maryland man has been sentenced to a year in jail — his crime: throwing parties during the coronavirus pandemic that violated the governor's emergency order.
On March 22, police officers went to a home in Hughesville after reports of a large party at the residence. Shawn Marshall Myers, 42, argued with the officers, but eventually shut down the party that had as many as 60 attendees, according to the Charles County Sheriff's Office.
Then on March 27, officers were called to the same house in Charles County after more complaints about a large party. Police estimate that there were more than 50 people at Myers' bonfire party.
Myers was argumentative again with cops, claiming that the group had the right to congregate. He refused to disband the soiree, which was a violation of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan's (R) emergency order against large gatherings. At the time, the order prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Currently, Maryland allows gatherings of up to 50 people.
"Beyond being argumentative, Myers directed his guests to stay in defiance of [Gov. Larry Hogan's] orders and the officers' lawful orders to disband the party," Charles County State's Attorney Tony Covington said.
On Friday, Myers was convicted of two counts of failure to comply with an emergency order. A judge sentenced Myers to a year in the Charles County Detention Center for throwing parties that exceeded coronavirus capacity restrictions, according to WTTG-TV.
In addition to jail time, Myers was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine and undergo three years of unsupervised probation after his release.
"He was given a warning," Covington said. "It's not like the police just swooped in there and said you're going to jail. They gave him a warning. He had at least 50 people the first day and then two, three days later, he's doing the same thing. And the second day he's of a mind that he's not going to cooperate, he's going to tell people to keep the music playing."
"These decisions were made for the public good, for people's safety," Covington said. "We've got 200,000 people dead because of the attitudes that Mr. Myers demonstrated that particular day."
Myers, who is a tattoo artist, told WTTG that he regretted throwing the party when he "learned about the devastation COVID-19 caused in a short period of time after it reached the U.S."
Earlier this week, a mother was tased and arrested at her son's middle school football game after she refused to wear a face mask. Viral video shows the Ohio woman resisting arrest after being asked to wear a mask.